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RFID-based App Helps Consumers Find a Cold Drink

Cool&Go is an app-based extension of Blulog's automated data-logging system to point consumers in the direction of beverages or ice cream in their neighborhood, while also sharing their temperatures.
By Claire Swedberg
Nov 22, 2017

RFID company Blulog already sells a solution enabling companies to track the temperatures of the perishable foods stored at brick-and-mortar stores or throughout supply chains, but now it offers a new system that is consumer-facing. This month, Blulog has released Cool&Go, an app that enables consumers to access RFID-based data regarding products in their area, so they can see not only what cold items are nearby, but also the temperatures at which they are being stored.

The system is designed as a game, providing puzzle pieces that consumers can earn each time they scan a QR code on a store's cooler. Once they have collected enough pieces, they can win a free drink or other reward. The system is designed for use by product brands to attract attention to their cold products, explains Jérémy Laurens, Blulog's CEO. However, it is intended to also benefit retailers that sell those brands' products.

Blulog's Jérémy Laurens
Blulog, a French- and Polish-based company founded in 2014, sells active RF-based data loggers that can be placed within a refrigerator or carton inside a refrigerated truck, and can measure ambient temperatures every 10 minutes. Another version can measure humidity every 15 minutes. The battery-powered loggers transmit data via active ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID to a Blulog gateway, which forwards the collected information to cloud-based Blulog BluConsole software via a Wi-Fi or local-area network (LAN) connection.

Companies are using the technology to track the temperatures within their coolers, at distribution centers and in refrigerated trucks (see Polish Retail Chain Keeps Food Cool With RFID). With regard to trucks, a wireless gateway is installed on each vehicle to forward data to the cloud, using either a SIM card or a Wi-Fi hotspot from a driver's smartphone or other device.

The active RF loggers, which are approximately the size of a credit card, can transmit data to the reader gateway from a distance of about 2,300 feet. That means several gateways can cover a typical warehouse environment or loading dock. The loggers also come with 13.56 MHz Near Field Communication (NFC) functionality so that they can be read via a mobile phone or handheld device if an active transmission is unavailable—for instance, in the event of a power outage or if the loggers are out of RF range.

Recently, Blulog released a QR code solution known as ColdFinder, designed to allow brands or stores to provide information regarding the cold storage temperatures of a product before they buy it. A company attaches QR-coded signage at the coolers within its store, then invites customers to scan each QR code via their smartphones to access data.

The QR code scan opens the website where Blulog's software is storing the temperature data, so that a consumer can view the temperature at that time, as well as the temperatures to which the product has been exposed while the Blulog data loggers were in use. If safe temperature perimeters for a particular product had been exceeded, the customer could view that data and opt not to purchase that item. In the meantime, the same data is available to the stores or brand owners, so that they can act on any temperature issues quickly.

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